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Gardening

Gardening (3)

18 Nov

Back pain, neck pain and muscles strains don't have to slow you down in the garden this year. The pain experts at Advanced Pain Management have eight helpful tips you should try as you get out the shovels and soil this season. You'd be surprised to see some of the simple things you can do at home to help prevent injury and reduce pain.

Download the eBook 8 Tips to Prevent Injury in the Garden

Warm Up

1. Warm Up
It may seem simple, but warming up is really about preparing the muscles for work. Not only does warming up your muscles help prevent injury, it can also boost energy and performance. In the garden that means you can bend, lift, dig and water with ease. Try performing some stretches and walk briskly for a couple of minutes to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing.

 

Use Proper Tools

2. Use the Proper Tools
Using the right tools is important to protect your back and neck from injury. Tools with short handles can force you to bend down awkwardly and lead to sore, strained muscles. Select tools that allow you to stand up straight as you dig, shovel and weed. Also consider proper lifting technique as you work.

 
 

Stretch While You Work

3. Stretch While You Work
Stretch as you go! Stretching not only helps you prepare for work, it can also help you re-energize. Try stretching periodically as you work. Breathe in and out, slowly and rhythmically, allowing your body to relax and muscles to loosen.

 



Avoid Sudden Movements

4. Avoid Sudden Movements
The muscles in your back are not prepared to handle sudden jerking or twisting movements that are often associated with do-it-yourself projects. These sorts of movements will likely result in a sore back or strained muscles. As you work, turn your whole body as you perform twisting movements and keep your back aligned.

 

Protect Yourself

5. Protect Yourself
Apply sunblock before you begin work outdoors. It is important to protect your skin from harmful UV -rays. It is also a good idea to wear a hat to protect your neck and face from getting too much sun.

 

 
 

Start Small

6. Start Small
Beginners and experts alike should understand that gardens don’t happen overnight. Ease into your projects and pace yourself. Taking it slow will ensure you don’t overwork yourself or your muscles! Don’t let your expectations dictate your pace; listen to your body instead.

 


Work at the Right Height

7. Work at the Right Height
Wherever possible, get down to the level at which you are working. Bending at the waist to lift tools or supplies can aggravate your back muscles, instead, get to the ground and if you are lifting tools or objects lift with your legs. Also, try using a knee pad for comfort so you can get closer to your work.

 

 

Ask for Help

8. Ask for Help
A partner can help you move or carry heavy  objects and tools. Consider using a wheelbarrow to move extremely heavy items like soil and rocks.

 

 

 

What tips have you found helpful in the garden? Tell us in the comments section!

Weed Out The Pain Toolkit Download

17 Nov

Gardening is a great form of exercise, working multiple muscle groups as well as burning calories. It makes sense, then, that just like any other exercise or sport, there should be some rules to keep you – and your garden – in fighting form.

Before and After

Warmups and cool downs aren’t just for runners. Take the time to loosen up your body with some quick stretches and a brisk walk before digging in. And make sure to take frequent time-outs, with plenty of water, says Melinda Myers, an expert horticulturalist who works with Advanced Pain Management to provide tips on seasonal gardening and safety. Afterward, cool down with a few more stretches, and ice any sore areas.

Switch it Up

Whether it’s practicing tennis or watering hydrangeas, doing the same thing for extended periods of time can result in injury. Switch up your activities, and your position, to avoid stiffness and work a range of muscle groups. “I may go from weeding down on my knees to digging with a shovel or raking,” says Myers. “I often take a break from these more strenuous activities to water, so I’m moving and stretching my legs.”

There’s No ‘I’ in Garden

Share the load with a gardening round-robin, suggests Myers. Not only will it decrease your own load, but it’s a great way to catch up with friends – and boost your gardening know-how. “With busy schedules,” she says, “I find it’s a great way to take on overwhelming tasks, like spring cleanup and winter pruning, and enlist help, but make it fun.”

Learn More

For more tips on getting a leg up on gardening pain, visit Melinda Myers at the We Energies Energy Park stage during the Wisconsin State Fair Aug. 6-16, where she will be presenting “The Livable Landscape” at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. And don't forget to download your free Gardening Toolkit.

Weed Out The Pain Toolkit Download

01 Nov

“Don’t let winter stop you from gardening and enjoying your landscape,” says expert horticulturalist Melinda Myers. And don’t let pain stop you, either! Download APM’s new Weed out the Pain: Winter Home and Garden Edition for tips and ideas on maintaining your plants and your health during these cold winter months, as well as ideas on exciting pain-fighting recipes and crafts.

Brave the Outdoors

Winter is a difficult time in the Midwest, since the cold weather often keeps us indoors – and away from our gardens. It’s also a hard time for people with pain, since the frigid temperatures and difficult winter chores can often increase pain. But winter doesn’t have to mean the end of your hobbies – even gardening – and, if done right, your outdoor chores don’t have to be a source of pain. Melinda’s advice on winterizing your landscape, paired with expert injury prevention advice from pain management providers, can help you enjoy winter and reduce your pain in the process.

For instance, Melinda recommends that after it snows, people should shovel first, then use a plant-friendly deicing salt. This way, you use less salt, making it better for your budget and your landscape. And while shoveling, switch sides often in order to avoid muscle fatigue or strain. It’s better for your back and means less chance of injury.

Staying Inside

But you don’t even have to go outside to experience the benefits of gardening. “Whether it’s the plants you brought in for winter, a new houseplant or greens on a windowsill, gardening helps reduce stress and elevate our mood,” says Melinda.

Melinda suggests growing an array of microgreens as an easy and nutritious gardening project this winter. Radish, mustard and spicy microgreens can give a spicy zip to your meals, and sunflower and popcorn microgreens have a delectable nutty flavor. 

Speaking of delectable meals, winter’s the perfect time to stock up your pantry with foods that fight pain – like cherries, ginger and peppers – and add them to a warm slow-cooked meal. The winter toolkit provides nine unique, tasty dishes to curb your hunger and decrease your pain, like this slow cooker creamy chicken and mint curry from Food 52. The refreshing addition of mint can actually help reduce inflammation and decrease headaches and general aches and pains.

After you’ve eaten, try your hand at some of the exciting winter- and nature-themed crafts in the toolkit, which not only help you brighten your home during the dull winter months, but can also help you fight pain.

Learn More

To get these expert tips from Melinda and APM’s pain management professionals, in addition to an array of pain-fighting recipes and winter crafts – download the Weed out the Pain: Winter Home and Garden Edition now!

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